When the so-called “cold war” ended at the beginning of the 1990s, expectations were running high for the emergence of a new and peaceful world order. It was widely hoped that the rivalry between that era’s two superpowers, which was commonly characterized as “East-West conflict,” would be transformed into a stable system of co-operation among all states at an equal level and on the basis of common goals.
The prophesied golden age of “liberal democracy” and “peace,” however, quickly turned out to be a Fata Morgana when it became clear that one party to the erstwhile confrontation – that saw itself as the winner in the global struggle for power – insisted on a monopoly of definition of the basic principles of world order, including human rights and the rule of law. In the years that followed, the majority of United Nations member states nonetheless challenged the remaining superpower’s claim to political and ideological supremacy. Francis Fukuyama’s initial proclamation of the “end of history,” implying global acceptance of the supposedly victorious doctrine, was quickly proven premature.
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